Thursday, August 23, 2007

Big Events in a Small City

I've been having a lot of Atlas Shrugged days lately. These are the days where I look at the world around me and wonder how it all got so insane and illogical. Days that prompt last Thursday's 13 rants. It did not help my mood when Dubya himself managed to make me an hour late for work just because of his choice of breakfast spots.

In fact, as I sat there in traffic watching the motorcade go by, the dark cloud lowered even more. We've had a parade of other political figures arriving — Hillary, Obama, John McCain. And yet, none of this really cranked up my excite-o-meter. Now, had Mr. Bush decided to visit me in my hometown to announce his resignation, that, my friends, would have been one helluva party. Save the date, kids, we have to hope.

No such luck. Yet still, to my great fortune, our city was graced with another group of visitors, ones that I was very excited to meet indeed. The Sustainable Table, an organization that promotes and supports sustainable food choices, made a stop here on their Eat Well Guided Tour. The day's events included lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, farm tours, a dinner at another favorite place, and a film festival.

I was fortunate enough to be at the lunch tables, along with so many others in our food community including farmers, chefs, activists and journalists. As I looked around the room and saw all of these people together, I got such a feeling of hope, of momentum, of shared goals and efforts. I stopped feeling so alone and started feeling empowered again. I realized something very important.

You see, while I can't control what China is putting in food or toys, what the federal government does (or does not do) to the farm bill, the war in Iraq, Dick Cheney in general ... so many things I cannot control ... I can control my own choices, my support for my community, for a sustainable future. I can choose to support local farmers. And, best of all, that these choices do make a difference. That felt really good. Really, really good.

At that point, Diane Hatz, Founder/Director, Sustainable Table; Executive Producer, The Meatrix stood up to speak about the Eat Well Tour. She spoke about this same feeling happening to her, nearly bringing her to tears, in all the places that she visited. She spoke of all the people across the country who shared this same goal and vision. Everyday people, like you and I, together. My heart swelled even more. She said that the "movement has already moved. It's a lifestyle now. It's mainstream."

Diane Hatz has kindly agreed to let me interview her post tour, so look forward to that soon!

I had the great fortune of sitting with Diane, and also with Simran Sethi, who writes and co-hosts Sundance Channel's "The Green". Sethi will be joining the tour as it makes its way to Minneapolis. She is as lovely and warm as her photo appears. It was an extraordinary lunch. The food was good, too!

At the meal's end, I hesitated, my poor brain could not form a logical sentence. I kind of stood there like an idiot. (Sorry, Diane). I just didn't want it to end. I was ready to pack a bag, grab the family, and get on the bus. For good. But the tour had to leave.

The good news is that the rest of these amazing people; the farmers, activists, chefs, believers, are staying. Right. Here.

Oh, and Dubya got on his plane, too.


jen said...

it's so important when we are feeling overwhelmed by things we cannot control to surround ourselves with the goodness of others.

you know, like you.

Simon said...

It is so hard to work out that balance between individual action, political action, and dismayed inertia. I hope to find the balance that leaves me fulfilled yet sane!

katiez said...

Isn't nice when we can manage to exert some little control over our own lives - and it makes it better all 'round? Don't we all wish it were more often? No comment about Dubya - I've already had a stressful day...